Valentino Rossi’s moving farewell to his audience

It is a legend that is going away. My passion for him grew over time. I have been following his exploits since I was 10 years old, and I am 32 today », confides Alex, the shaved head and the soft voice, arrived from Veneto on a motorbike. Like him, on Sunday 24 October, in Misano, they had come in large numbers from all over Italy, often with their families, to say goodbye to their idol: during the Grand Prix of Emilia-Romagna, Valentino Rossi made his last laps of the track in front of his audience.

In Italy, his fans form the popolo giallo (yellow people); in the stands of the Marco-Simoncelli circuit, they formed a fluorescent yellow tide. This color and the acronym VR46, these are the marks of recognition of the Sky Racing Team VR46, created by Valentino Rossi in 2013 in Tavullia, the small village of Marche where he grew up.

This time the circle has come full circle: it is on this circuit that it all began, twenty-four years earlier. At 42, a canonical age in speedbiking, “Vale” decided to hang up at the end of the season. On Sunday, he did his best, but finished far from the best, only tenth, twenty-seven seconds behind the winner, Spaniard Marc Marquez.

If the passion is intact, Valentino Rossi can no longer keep pace with the best

The one who will soon be a father no longer has such a taste for risk. His last seasons have not been flamboyant. His last world title dates back to 2009 and his last Grand Prix victory in 2017. If the passion is intact, Valentino Rossi can no longer keep pace with the best. In 2020, he was relegated by Yamaha to its satellite team, Petronas Yamaha SRT, and it was Fabio “El Diablo” Quartararo, who took his place in the official team of the Japanese manufacturer. Without bitterness, he warmly congratulated the young Frenchman, who won his first world crown on Sunday.

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The “Doctor” (that’s his nickname) knows that his record will probably remain unmatched for a long time, with nine world championship titles, including seven in the premier class (the first in 500 cm3 in 2001, then the next six in MotoGP from 2002). All this despite a size (1.81 meters) not really ideal for this sport, where small sizes are favored.

Pilgrimage to Tavullia

Everywhere these words “Grazie Vale” ; sfans laughing even though Valentino Rossi is 21e in the world rankings in MotoGP. And they also don’t care that his world championship titles were acquired at a time when the competition was not as tough as it is today. “Valentino is no longer competitive, it’s sad, but it’s good to be here to say goodbye to him”, says Marco, 30, from Brescia, three hours away by car.

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